This year’s World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians hits close to home for many Tampa Bay Rays fans.
Quite a few players and coaches formerly with the Rays will be in the Series.
Most notable is Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
Maddon was the manager for the Rays from 2006 to 2014 and helped lead the team to the World Series in 2008. Many fans were upset when Maddon opted out of his contract and left the team in 2014.
Putting this aside, Jake Pozywio, a Cubs fan from Lansing, Illinois (about 30 miles south of Chicago), thinks Rays' backers will support the Cubs because of Maddon’s history in the Bay area.
“Joe Maddon, great manager, he did great things here in Tampa,” Pozywio said. “With the correlation between Joe Maddon leaving the Rays for the Cubs, I think a lot of Rays fans are gonna be rooting for the Cubs tonight and for the rest of the Series.”
Other former Rays with the Cubs include infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist, pitchers Mike Montgomery (who played in the Rays' minor league system), Jason Hammel and coaches Chris Bosio, Eric Hinske and Dave Martinez.
Former Rays with the Cleveland Indians include outfielder Brandon Guyer, catcher Chris Gimenez and coaches Mickey Callaway and Matt Quartaro.
One other player with local ties is Cubs' outfielder Chris Coghlan, who graduated from East Lake High School in Pinellas County in 2003.
The Series gets underway tonight in Cleveland.
There will be watch parties around the area, including one at Maddon’s restaurant, Ava, in Hyde Park.